The Spectacle of #TrumpsAmerica: Political Journalism, Networked Publics, and the Battle for Symbolic Power

  • Stephen R. Barnard


Although social media platforms have long been lauded for their potential to challenge traditional power structures, they also help the rich get richer, in part through added attention from legacy media. This chapter examines the workings of spectacle on Twitter, and how this bears on the journalistic field. After considering Donald Trump’s use of Twitter as gatecrashing, spectacle, and symbolic power, the chapter examines the realities of a mediatized field. Next, the form and content of tweets by journalists reporting on @realDonaldTrump are analyzed, and then compared with those posted by activists. This includes a brief examination of online news coverage. Finally, each group’s potential for influence is compared before drawing some conclusions about the hybridizing of journalism and politics at a time of mediatization.


Political journalism Symbolic power Twitter Gatewatching Gatecrashing Media spectacle Influence Agenda-setting Agenda-building 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen R. Barnard
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologySt. Lawrence UniversityCantonUSA

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